Photo radar will be catching speeders in some Toronto school zones starting this summer.
Mayor John Tory, who previously said he hoped the technology would be helping to slow motorists and make streets safer some time this year, announced during a news conference Tuesday that a pilot project is proceeding at locations and times to be announced later.
He had earlier said he looked forwarded to drivers who blast past schools being mailed “big fat tickets.”
That measure, along with others including traffic wardens and a streamlined process for residents to ask city hall for speed humps and other “traffic calming” initiatives, will go to the public works committee next week. There is widespread support on council for photo radar in school zones.
Tory, whose has focused on reducing traffic gridlock, previously promised wardens at busy intersections to direct traffic and ensure any vehicles blocking traffic or posing safety hazards are quickly moved. Critics had questions why costly paid-duty officers sometimes directed traffic.
The mayor said Tuesday paid duty officers will be at intersections starting next Monday, to be replaced by less costly wardens once they are hired and trained. Ads for the jobs are to be posted this week.
Tory, who filed his papers Tuesday to seek re-election this fall, has been criticized for road safety advocates for positions including his opposition to bike lanes on north Yonge St. as part of a plan to beautify the stretch between Sheppard and Finch Aves. and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
That criticism has intensified since a man driving a van last week ran up on a sidewalk near Yonge and Finch, killing 10 people and injuring 15.
The mayor said there is no link between the Yonge St. remake — which council sent back to the drawing board, with Tory’s support — and the tragedy that happened there.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the city who would try to connect that particular debate to the tragic events of last Monday because I think that could have happened in any particular place in the city — it happened on Yonge St.,” he told reporters.
“I think that now the job we have to do is to find a way to have the best possible safe, attractive way to redesign Yonge St.” make all sidewalks and bike lanes in Toronto “as safe as they can possibly be.”
Asked about talk of a permanent memorial for the victims of the attack, Tory said he supports the idea and the city wants input from residents on what form the memorial could take.
The city would have to be sensitive to the wishes of survivors, victims’ family members and the local community, Tory said, but there would be value in a marker that “causes people to reflect on the tragic events well off into the future so that we don’t forget about people who lost their lives or were injured or about the event itself.”